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MLB to void the Baltimore Orioles’ contract with Korean prospect Seong-Min Kim

by on Feb.16, 2012 @ 1:29 pm, under NPB
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From MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko:

The Korean Baseball Organization's protest over the Orioles' signing of Seong-Min Kim will lead to Major League Baseball voiding the contract of the 17-year-old Korean pitcher, according to industry sources.

...

I'm told that the Orioles could be facing some sort of punishment, and they will have to restart the negotiating process at a later date if they still want to bring Kim into the organization.

BTW: Thanks to everyone that dropped me a line about this.

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Baltimore Orioles scouts banned from Korea Baseball Association events

by on Feb.10, 2012 @ 5:34 pm, under Other
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USA Today Daily Pitch's Seth Livingstone reports the following:

South Korea has banned Orioles scouts from attending Korean Baseball Association events, according to the Yonhap News Agency.

The move is fallout from Baltimore's recent signing of 17-year-old pitching prospect Kim Seong-min, who Wednesday was banned from playing or coaching baseball in his home country.

...

"Poaching our players like this makes it difficult for (South Korea) to keep its scouting rules tight and to develop our youth sports programs," said Michael Park, the KBO's operations manager. "We only have 50 high school teams and taking promising players away like this makes it very hard for Korean baseball to stay strong."

The Yonhap News Agency article goes into a little more detail on the ban.  A snip:

The Korea Baseball Association (KBA) announced Thursday it has informed the MLB commissioner's office and the Orioles of its decision, saying scouts from all major league teams in the future signing Korean student athletes not in the final years of their schools will be banned from KBA-sanctioned games. That will include all national high school and university tournaments, often frequented by major league scouts.

"To prevent a further exodus of top prospects, we will limit (major league teams') access to players," the KBA said.

This could set an interesting precedent.  The NPB is no doubt keeping a close eye on developments.

UPDATE 2/11 @ 6:31pm - The Associated Press is reporting that the Baltimore Orioles have apologized to the KBA and KBO.  A snip:

Dan Duquette, Baltimore's new executive vice president of baseball operations, apologized to the Korea Baseball Organization and the Korea Baseball Association for an "unintentional breach of protocol in failing to tender a status check in the process of signing" Kim.

"The Orioles respect Major League Baseball's recruiting policies and the governing bodies and people that contribute to the growth of baseball around the world," Duquette said in a release issued Friday night.

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Yoshihiro Doi agrees to minor league deal with Baltimore Orioles

by on Jan.14, 2012 @ 3:32 pm, under MLB
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Nikkan Sports is reporting that Baltimore Orioles have signed Yoshihiro Doi (35) to a minor league contract.

Doi spent time playing for the Seibu Lions (1998-2004, 2009-2010) and Yokohama Bay Stars (2004-2008) before heading to the US in 2011, where he signed a deal with the Lancaster Barnstormers.  However, due to work visa issues, Doi did not have a chance to pitch for Lancaster and returned to Japan.

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UPDATE: Wei-Ying Chen signs a three-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles

by on Jan.10, 2012 @ 2:18 am, under MLB
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FoxSports.com's Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Baltimore Orioles are close to signing Wei-Ying Chen to a multi-year deal.

Source: #Orioles close to signing Taiwanese LHP Wei-Yin Chen to multi-year deal. 26 yo hard thrower, pitched for Chunichi in Japan. #MLB

The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly followed up with these two tweets:

Advancing @Ken_Rosenthal report. Source tells me #Orioles have agreed 2 terms w LHP Chen Wei-yin pending physical, which he is coming in 4

The deal w Chen, 26, is believed to be a 3year deal -- tho possible that 3rd year kicks in as a vesting option.

UPDATE @ 5:12am JST -

CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted that Chen got a 3-year deal.

chen got $11M plus from o's on 3 yr deal.

UPDATE 1/11 @ 1:34am JST -

Chen got a three-year deal with a club option for 2015Nikkan Sports also mentions that he was assigned the number 16.

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Sponichi interviews Tsuyoshi Wada

by on Jan.02, 2012 @ 1:01 pm, under MLB
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Sponichi has posted the following interview with Tsuyoshi Wada:

You found out where you were going to play in mid-December...

I did not think it would happen so soon.  My agent also told me that the market was moving a little slow this year, so I thought I might not know until January.  Finding out early means I can spend more time preparing.  This this was good for me.

Why did you pick the Orioles?

They were the first to address all my concerns.  I did talk things over with my agent, but I kind of liked them from the start.

What were some of your concerns?

Starting for one.  I also wanted to bring my personal trainer along (土橋恵秀).  I was worried about my family as well, but for me to succeed, I felt it important to try and recreate a similar type of pitching environment.

What were your thoughts of the stadium in Baltimore?

The distance between the mound and home plate felt really close.  It is only 97 meters [to right] so the outfield is a little small.  [The stadium size] kind of reminded me of Tokyo Dome.

What kinds of things are you doing to prepare for the Majors?

I was able to adjust to the new baseball last season, so I am not too worried about the size of the baseball.  I guess my concerns lie in starting.  I will be going from pitching on six days of rest to four days of rest.  There [can be] time zone changes during road trips.  [Last season, instead of] taking the day off two days after my starts [as I used to], I trained non-stop.  I also tried adding workouts on days I pitched in the bullpen and even pretended to pitch on four days of rest.  But that was all in my imagination, so I will not know until I actually experience it.

You decided to wear the number 18, the same number when you pitched at Waseda.

I really wanted the number 21, but that was not one of the options.  My agent gave me a list of numbers and 18 was the first one that popped out.  It is the number I was wearing during college when I dreamed of pitching in the Majors.  I selected it because this is like returning to my roots when I first started pitching.

You will be pitching in the same division as [Daisuke] Matsuzaka.

Matsuzaka had more wins against me in Japan (4-2 Matsuzaka).  When Daisuke left for the Majors, I thought we would face each other again [some day].  When I was in high school, I thought he was above me.  When Daisuke made it to the Majors, I dreamed of how nice it would be if I could do the same.  I look forward to the possibility of pitching against him on this new stage (the Majors).  If Daisuke's rehab goes will, then he will be back as a start, which means I need to make it through as a starter as well.

The AL East is a tough division with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.  Which batter do you look forward to facing?

Every one of them.  It is a world I can not imagine [right now].  They can easily hit 160km/h pitches.  I could not believe that Daisuke got hurt.  That he competed in the midst of all that.  Made me think how amazing he is.

You will be facing a lot more batters.

I have already asked for data on the AL East teams.  When I told the GM how I like to prepare, he told me he would immediately get a DVD together.  It should be arriving some time early this month.  I will buy an iPad and carry [the data] around with me.

You get a fresh start at a fresh location.  Do you feel the same way you did the first year you turned pro?

The team is different.  The league is different.  And the country is different.  The environment is, of course, also different.  I will approach things as a first year player.  I will follow things like the clubhouse rules and dress code.  But in terms of pitching, I will go with what I have in my tenth year.  I will not pitch like I did when I was rookie.  The nine years I pitched for the Hawks meana something and I will not forget the pride I have in what I have accomplished up until now.  I will not bend in that area.

Tsuyoshi Wada News and Notes: December 16, 2011

by on Dec.16, 2011 @ 1:43 pm, under MLB
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Tsuyoshi Wada appeared at a press conference at Oriole Park on the Thursday.

Nikkan Sports has posted the following comments made by Wada during the press conference:

Why did you pick the Orioles?

They were the first to show interest and I felt they were being sincere.  I heard their team was in a bit of rut and I would like people to say that I was able to help the team out.

You are wearing the same number you wore when you went to Waseda.

It is the same college number that made me shoot for the pros.  I think it is also a good because it represents a new start.

What are you goals?

To [pitch well enough] to remain in the starting rotation for a full year.

What are your strengths?

I do not have much in terms of velocity, but I have been able to strike batters out.  I would like to use a combination of my fastball and change-up to get batters out.

What are your thoughts on the different pitching schedules?

I was thinking about playing in the Majors the last two to three years.  I tried to what I could in between starts to prepare myself.

The AL East is a strong division.

I think it is a really tough division, but that is one of the I look forward to.  If I can get batters out, it will help me grow.

Wada has also updated his blog with the following comments:

I tried my best with my English speech.

<Image of Wada in an Orioles uniform>

How do I look?

Looks a little dark.

It seems the team will have new uniforms next year to commemorate 20 years at their stadium.  I feel a little bad that I may have been the first to wear the new uniform...

I will do my best to make sure I am good fit for the this uniform.

If there is anyone awake at 8am, please watch Tokudane! because I will beon the phone with them at the beginning of the show.

Posted from my iPhone

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Baltimore Orioles checking on a number of players, including Wei-Ying Chen and Hiroyuki Nakajima

by on Oct.20, 2011 @ 6:33 pm, under MLB, NPB
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Sponichi notes that Baltimore Orioles' player development director John Stockstill was in Japan between 10/14 and 10/19 checking on a number of players.  Sponichi also mentions a Baltimore Sun article (written by Dan Connolly) that discusses Stockstill's stay in length.  Here's a snip:

Stockstill's purpose in Japan goes beyond Darvish. He is solidifying contacts and gathering information on whether certain players will be available this offseason – Japanese players and those with previous MLB connections.

He’s also scouting players. He’s been there since Friday and has seen four days of games. I spoke to him briefly, and he said there are probably 15 players of interest with "seven to 10" whom the Orioles ultimately could consider further if the situation presents itself. Not surprisingly, that list is basically comprised of pitchers and infielders – ones who could serve in a utility role or play second base if Brian Roberts is unavailable and Robert Andino is needed elsewhere.

Stockstill was at the Tokyo Dome on Saturday night to watch several players, including Chunichi Dragons 26-year-old lefty Chen Wei-Yin start. On Sunday, Stockstill was in Seibu scouting, among others, Lions shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima.

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Baltimore Orioles’ John Stockstill to check out Darvish’s last start

by on Oct.16, 2011 @ 10:05 am, under MLB, NPB
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Sponichi notes a Baltimore Sun article that says Baltimore Orioles' development director John Stockstill is in Japan to check on a number of players, including Yu Darvish.  Sponichi also mentions that a number of other clubs, like the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox are expected to catch Darvish's last start of the regular season (currently set for the 18th against the Seibu Lions).

Sponichi goes on to provide the following list of 5 clubs interested in Darvish along with possible reasons why:

  • New York Yankees - could lose C.C. Sabathia; looking for a number of starting arms
  • Boston Red Sox - Daisuke Matsuzaka coming back from TJ surgery; John Lackey's elbow problems; urgent need to find arms for the starting rotation
  • Toronto Blue Jays - increase in payroll
  • Baltimore Orioles - Jeremy Guthrie's bad year; looking for quality arm
  • Texas Rangers - GM checked out Darvish in June; could lose CJ Wilson to FA
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Orioles interested in Hiroyuki Nakajima?

by on Oct.14, 2010 @ 10:22 am, under NPB
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Via Sponichi: MASN's Roch Kubatko mentions that the Baltiomore Orioles are interested in Hiroyuki Nakajima.

A snip:

The Orioles have interest in him, enough that John Stockstill returned to Japan to take another look at him. They've scouted him multiple times, along with a lot of other teams.

I don't know how much the Orioles are willing to offer him. The Orioles really don't know until the market is set. But he's got their attention.

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Baltimore Sun: Orioles invite Hisanori Takahashi to Spring Training

by on Jan.29, 2010 @ 12:21 pm, under MLB
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A Baltimore Sun snippet via Nikkan Sports:

The team has extended minor-league deals with spring training invites to former Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Will Ohman and Japanese import Hisanori Takahashi. Barring acceptance from one or both, or possibly from a right-handed reliever, the spring roster is set.

There's also some talk about the Mets as well.  A NY Times snippet via Sponichi:

The Mets are also focused on getting another left-handed pitcher for the bullpen, which is primarily why they have shown interest in Hisanori Takahashi, who pitched for the Yomiuri Giants. Takahashi was a starter in Japan, but he could work out of the bullpen and evolve into an emergency starter if the need arose.

Takahashi and his agent have gone on record a number of times that they are looking for a MLB deal and that they aren't in any rush to sign a deal right away.  Takahashi is looking for a major-league deal and a serious chance to start.

There are plans for Takahashi to fly to the US on the 31st to continue his training over there.   He's also planning on starting a throwing program beginning February 1st.

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